Being a great leader often means surrounding yourself with the best people and checking your ego at the door. Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of IKEA, shows what it means to be a visionary leader.
Kamprad focused on surrounding himself with the right people who created a sense of community loyalty and had belief in the concept. A rigorous interview process was created by Kamprad that ensured employees aligned to company values—thriftiness, attention to detail, and extreme cost-consciousness. Kamprad went so far as publishing ‘Testament of a Furniture Dealer,’ which detailed the IKEA philosophy and became the employee bible, to protect his company culture and values. His people and culture was something he fiercely tried to protect.
When Kamprad was in the early stages of IKEA, he wanted the company to succeed more than he wanted his ideas to be responsible for its success. So many of the distinctive IKEA elements did not originate from Kamprad himself. For example, Sven Gote developed the mail order/furniture store concept. Gillis, an IKEA photographer, came up with the idea of flat boxes, and that also started self-assembly furniture. Hans AX, a manager, designed the elements which modern IKEA stores are known for: a playroom for children by the entrance, a winding path through room displays, flat-pack furniture, self-service, probable furniture in small sizes, fewer items that required ordering, and a restaurant.
If Kamprad only adopted ideas that were his own or was too egotistical to find the value in others’ ideas, many of IKEA’s distinctive elements would probably not exist, and the company would not be the company it is today.